DC's 2020: All the Rest
And here we are, DC's final post of 2020 before a month-long break.
Not all music falls into the neat categories of "song" or album," and some such examples are just too good not to mention. So a single, an EP, and a compilation (all from this past year) are highlighted below.
Then, we wrap up 2020 with a few loose thoughts on the year, where we've been, and where we're heading in 2021.
Deltoid - Terminal Terrestre
Maybe this qualifies as a single because it runs as one track, maybe it's an album since it spans 45 minutes, but whatever it is, it's awesome. Released by Sounds et al way back in January, Deltoid's music collages together heavily manipulated field recordings from his three-month trip to Ecuador. The snippets jump from street noise to danceable beats to nature sounds, never staying too long in one location. It's quite the trip.
Kin Leonn and Hiroshi Ebina - Faraway Vicinity
Here is an album-of-the-week recipient from this past year that was not an album at all, but rather a four-song EP. Read our words here, but also listen to the full embedded piece below. Running 16 minutes, it's a beautiful slowing down of time - a pause in your otherwise busy day.
Various Artists - Piano Cloud Series - Volume Five
And by contrast, here is a two-and-a-half hour, 50-song compilation. Too loaded to be evaluated against other albums, it needed its own space in this post. We were floored by this collection last spring, and you can read all about it here, but just know that some of our favorite sounds of 2020 are buried within those delicate piano melodies. It's perfect to let play across a slow morning.
And that's a wrap on the lists! Now some scattered thoughts before signing out for a bit:
- Notably absent from any of our three EOTY posts was Medhane. The rapper's January and May releases got heavy play around here and defined the first half of our year in listening. 4EVAFADED would have most certainly slipped into our top songs post. But after some pretty serious allegations surfaced, we pulled back. Everyone negotiates artist/art relationships differently, but distance and omission felt right to us.
- We mentioned the Sound Propositions podcast in an IG post already, but cannot sing its praises enough. The fact that it has turned me (Nathan here) on to new artists is not even the best part of this subject and genre-diverse series. Processing season one episodes pushed me to reconsider how I, personally, listen to the world around me as well as the ways I navigate the music industry as a consumer. Sitting with each episode, I feel like a sponge - soaking up new information and revelatory insights. That, and Italian noise music.
- Speaking of listening and music consumption behaviors, I've got some work to do there. Fuck it, let's just go first-person now. Though Bandcamp Fridays encouraged me to put more money in the hands of artists directly, Spotify is still the platform I use most. By far. I just saw my year-end stats yet yesterday, and they are embarrassing. I'm still seeking alternative means of streaming, where I have access to everything AND artists are fairly compensated AND I can construct playlists AND can listen from anywhere, so get at me if you have ideas. Maybe I just need to spend more money on Bandcamp. Still brainstorming a solution here.
This brings me to what's next for the site. DC lived in a Wordpress blog for over three years, but when it evolved into its current form a year ago, I had two goals: 1) to gain access to artists, music and events, and more importantly, 2) to amplify music to readers who might not have stumbled upon it on their own - like so many sites have done for me over the years. I planned to kick out four posts a month and cover shows, basically. But about two months in, shows went away, work changed for me, and I suddenly had a lot more time to listen and write. So instead of publishing 50-ish posts this first year (like I had planned), this post is number 102. Yikes. While we're talking personal goals, I think my productivity addiction is another issue to target in 2021.
But I have mostly loved it. Honestly, I would write about music full-time if I could, and supporting artists with free press feels super important right now. But not everything about this new-look passion project has been fun. The AOTW model is no good at all, and I will be scrapping it in 2021. I hate feeling like I have to cram new releases each Friday to spit out a write-up by Monday. The site got a lot more newsy, too, what with all the previews and reviews. In the future, I want to devote more time to longform features, mixes, and in-depth artist interviews (a skill that I am very much trying to build). I definitely went for quantity this last year to build readership, and that's fine, but now it's time to try fewer posts of a higher quality. Also gotta scale back IG clicking. That place is soul-sucking.
While I'm dreaming, I would also like to invite contributing writers with different tastes and styles, so stay tuned for that. As a current one-person operation, I receive an overwhelming amount of new music to take in while also teaching full-time, so don't be offended if I can't get to yours. Perhaps more hands on deck would be helpful.
Who knows what else, though! I'm just excited to continue this site into next year in a way that is both sustainable, personally, as well as community-conscious. With live music shut down, I'm happy to shift my framework to supporting artists and their work. So come back in a month and see what's up.
Happy listening, and thanks for reading. See you next year.